On Monday the 21st of September Portumna Rugby Club had the great privilege of welcoming Nora Stapleton Irish international Women’s Rugby Player and the Women’s 6 Nations Trophy along with Wendy Hickey, Women Rugby Development Connacht Rugby to Portumna. We started off the morning by visiting Portumna National School when we received a fantastic welcome from all the students and staff. We then visited Portumna Community School where we received a magnificent welcome. Nora give a speech on how she reached the level of the RBS 6 Nations which started with a simple game of tag rugby and eventually lead to her making the Irish Women’s Rugby Team. Wendy spoke of the development of women’s rugby Connacht and the drive to get more girls/women out playing rugby. Emer Power of Portumna RFC gave a talk oStaff St Dympnasn Portumna Women’s/ Girls Rugby on how wonderful the last year has been to see so many girls take up rugby where they have made new friends, learnt a new sport and have been such a positive influence in both the wider community and the club. Finally, Mr James Coughlan finish off the visit with a lovely speech about rugby and how sport helps us through life.

Our next call was to Ability West, St Dympna’s ADS which was a brilliant experience, one which all the visiting team really enjoyed. Service Users and staff met with Norah and took the opportunity to have photos taken with her and the trophy.

We crossed over to Redwood National School in Lorrha where we were greeted by a fantastic instrumental rendition of Irelands Call. Nora talked to the students and signed autographs for all the children and they all got their photos taken with RBS Women’s Nation Trophy and Nora.

Killimor National School was next on our list and it was brilliant to see that the school has taken on rugby as one of their sports this year for all their students. We received a very warm welcome and Nora gave a talk on Women’s rugby all the student and teachers, had photos taken with students and signed autographs.

Our final port of call was to Tynagh National School where were greeted with a guard of honour with Connacht and IRFU flags when we arrived at the school. We received an upstanding welcome where the student and teachers sang Irelands call and everyone got a chance to get their hands on the Women’s RBS 6 Nations portumna community schoolTrophy. Nora spoke to all the students on the benefits of rugby and how women’s rugby has grown, especially in Portumna RFC. This is down to the great work that is being put in by all involved in Portumna Rugby Club.

A special word of thanks to everywhere we visited, to everyone we met for their warm welcome and for the great effort that the teachers and students had put into making the visit so successful. It was just a fantastic experience for everyone and was great to raise awareness of Women’s / Girls Rugby. A massive thanks to Nora, Wendy and Portumna RFC for the continued support to grow Women’s rugby in Portumna RFC.

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